Govt won't cut full subsidy in election year: Nasrul Hamid
State Minister for Power, Energy and Mineral Resources Nasrul Hamid today said government will not withdraw full subsidy from the power and energy sector in the upcoming budget.
"If you suddenly remove the subsidy in the election year, there will be a huge impact," he said at a pre-budget dialogue organised by Forum for Energy Reporters Bangladesh at Bidyut Bhaban today.
The state minister said the power and energy sector is going through many challenges.
"The price of all types of fuel has gone up," he said, adding that load shedding are occurring due to fuel shortage.
However, there is no problem in the power generation and transmission system, he added.
"Immediately after the coronavirus pandemic, the Ukraine-Russia war started... We couldn't convince Qatar to provide more gas (LNG) than what was agreed in the deal. Coal prices rose to $450 from $60 (per tonne), gas prices rose to $37 from $10 (per million cubic feet), and oil prices exceeded $160 a barrel. This shock has created a serious gap, especially economically," he told the audience.
"Amidst all these, we didn't really set the price based on the market. We are providing subsidies to our targeted 'lifeline' consumers. We were trying to ensure that the lifeline customers can use electricity at a very low price. How do we solve this economic crisis? It's all over the world… We are not an isolated country," he added.
He said the crisis has badly affected the power plants, especially the IPPs (independent power plants).
"…But there is nothing to worry. Everything will be fine. We can't bring coal today, we will be able to bring it tomorrow. We need patience," he added.
In the keynote presentation, Md Mozammel Hossain, vice-president of Bangladesh Independent Power Producers' Association (BIPPA), said the Bangladesh Power Development Board owed Tk 18,000 crore till March this year to private power plants.
"Government planned to give a subsidy of Tk 27,000 crore in the power sector last year. Of the amount, they only disbursed Tk 1,000 crore, which caused the huge number of dues," he said